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Jan 14, 2010 06:58 AM

Dining Near Staples Center / Nokia Theater

Experienced Chowhounder here, frequent poster in the forum for Chicago where I live.

Next month I'm going to a show at the Nokia Theater across the street from the Staples Center. I'd like to go somewhere within walking distance.

I've already searched and looked through a bunch of topics about dining near the Staples Center:

Staples Center Dining -
Staples Center -
Restaurants Near Staples Center -
Near Staple's Center -
Near Staples Center Dining -
Restaurants by Staples Center -

I haven't found exactly what I'm looking for, hence this post.

We will be a group of six. Looking for a place with great food, also a place where we can be comfortable and carry on a conversation and hear each other without shouting. A place that is really special in some way would be nice. Not trying to break the bank, but not trying to find the cheapest place either. Not big on steakhouses, so not considering the Palm, Morton's, or Flemings. (Besides, at least two of us are "fishetarians" - non-meat-eaters who eat seafood.) Haven't been impressed with McCormick and Schmick's. Not big on Italian food, so not considering Zucca.

I see two possibilities and I'd love to hear feedback about these as well as any other suggestions folks would like to make.

Roy's ( ) is close by, serving food with a Hawaiian/Asian influence. I ate recently at Roy's in Chicago and liked it a lot; the food, service, and atmosphere were all excellent. So that's one possibility, and one I'm familiar with.

I noticed a recommendation for Corkbar ( ). It appears to be a wine bar that also serves food. I've looked at their menu and it sounds very good, albeit somewhat limited. I'd love to hear feedback from folks who have been there, regarding the quality of their food as well as the suitability of their atmosphere for dining and for what I'm looking for.

Again, if there are additional places we should consider, I'd love to hear recommendations.

Thanks in advance for the help. If you're ever coming to Chicago, post over in our forum and I'll try to help you out.

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  1. I really liked Roy's the first few times I went. Now, there's a sameness to it. If I were you and feeling a little adventurous, I'd try Rivera (no, have not been yet). Something different.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mc michael

      Rivera sounds interesting, based on the menu on their website at Is it supposed to be good? I'd love to hear more.

      1. re: nsxtasy

        I think Rivera would actually be perfect for your situation. Very good food, excellent cocktails, not loud at all, definitely options for pescatarians.

        1. re: mollyomormon

          Third on Rivera. Fantastic food. Great drinks and great scene. Can walk very easily from there to the Nokia (actually did it in February).

    2. Have you considered Wood Spoon?

      If you have a car, I would also consider Chichen Itza.

      6 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Wood Spoon is good. It would be a hike. And it seems somewhat meat oriented.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Funny, Chichen Itza was one of the places I was considering during my visit last June. I ended up at Moles La Tia in Boyle Heights, and loved it. This time, though, we're looking for a place within walking distance of the theater.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            What about Magnolia? I love their food. Very close to LA Live...across the street.

            I don't believe Wood Spoon serves wine or beer. It is an excellent place but I like wine with my dinner. Bottlerock also has excellent food....and if you can afford Rivera...great place.

            1. re: RobertC

              Wood Spoon has been serving beer & wine for some time now. Their Sangria is excellent.

              1. re: RobertC

                Oh yes, Wood Spoon has lots of wine by the bottle and glass and their own house made sangria which is not bad. Not sure about beer.

              2. re: ipsedixit

                DEFINITELY SECOND CHICHEN of the few Yucatan gems within driving distance from their Poc Chuc

              3. I would second recommendations for both Corkbar and Rivera. Ate at Rivera Monday and had a terrific meal. Food and drinks were great. We went before the Kings game and it was quiet. Corkbar has a limited menu, but fun. Everything we ate there we enjoyed. There is a also a new Bottlerock that just opened on 11th near Flower. It looked nice, but I have never been there.

                Roy's is really good and has great seafood, but it not inexpensive.

                1. We ended up going to Magnolia. We got there when they opened at 5:00, so it was reasonably quiet, although it was starting to get noisy by the time we left for the show. The food was okay, not fantastic but not dreadful; I had the braised short rib which was unusually chewy for this cut of meat. All in all, it was a good choice for our needs.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    Thanks for reporting back.

                    I got to the thread too late, else I would have pointed you towards Water Grill - not quite walking distance (5+blocks away), but a nice choice nonetheless.